Friday, March 14, 2008

Ruben Hakhverdian: We should mourn the death of our government

I came across this at unzipped, which is where you can find the Armenian original. Ruben Hakhverdian is a very well known musician. An Armenian Leonard Cohen of sorts, and certainly one of my favorites.


Ruben Hakhverdian

"The government fired on the people and entered history in that way. It is incomprehensible to me how they will to govern this country. In reality, to put it mildly, the people do not like this government.

"If not the beginnings of a revolt, the events of March 1st were a collective act of protest on the part of the people that were treacherously repressed by the government. The student protests in France likewise ended with blazing stores and looting, but, there, no one died, because the nation in question is civilized (whereas I'm not even sure whether our nation is a nation at all)... Everything that went on is regrettable. That day should be declared a day of mourning; to boot--we must mourn for our government. Ultimately, the government died on that day," declared Ruben Hakhverdian, the Dashnak-friendly singer and Armenian household name, at club "Hayeli" yesterday and continued, "Robert speaks as if he is the president of some very wealthy nation. He is the president of the world's most underdeveloped nation; to boot, the poorest nation's wealthiest president. Our government, in the duration of 15 years, killed the dream dead in our youth. Their [Government officials'] precious children have big businesses and study abroad; making money through the means available to us, however, is a different matter. And who will judge them, when they are the judges... Our children do not have a future here. It is true that I harbor a personal sympathy toward Robert Kocharian; in any case, there was movement in the first five years of his presidency. When they say no incendiary devices were used during the goings-on of March 1st, it is a lie. It's a pity: When I saw, on television, the young and "promising" Armenian reporters asking our leaders those truly insipid questions after the events, I was ready to tear my hair out, because not one of them asked, for example, "Mr. Kocharian, what businesses do you have? Is it true that Mrs. Bella is a shareholder of the hospitals? Is it true that your son controls the Armenian cell-phone sales monopoly?" And so on. Today we believe rumormongers more than the news media. Instead of asking such questions, they were accusing Levon Ter-Petrossian... and the people had not come out for Ter-Petrossian, but against this unjust government. To tell the truth, I don't believe that eight people have perished. I have friends who were at the scene of the events who can very well distinguish between automatic shots and sniper shots. One my friends told me that a sniper shot someone, and his brain spilled out under his feet... Such things would happen in Latin American dictatorships."

In response to a question from Hayotz Ashkharh whether it isn't necessary, perhaps, for intellectuals to send out a call for toleration, Hakhverdian countered, "Whom and what do you have in mind when you say intellectual? Do any of those people remain? The last intellectual that I knew was Rafael Ghazarian."

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